Thursday, September 28, 2006

Fatties suffer 'discrimination, depression'

And constant government condemnation of them does not exactly help. Why are fatties the only ones you are allowed to condemn these days? What about Muslims? Let us hear more governments condemning them. They certainly do more harm to others than fatties do

Depression, discrimination and humiliation, not just excess weight, are burdens for people who are obese, a Melbourne professor said today. Monash University Professor Paul Komesaroff is leading a study into the emotional burdens of being overweight. He said the physical risks of obesity were well known, but little had been done on how overweight people felt about themselves and society's attitudes to them. "Overweight people are often reviled and humiliated their whole lives," Professor Komesaroff said. "Public debates and comments often don't help ... they project an image of overweight people as lazy, fat slobs who, if they used some willpower, would not be overweight," he said. "The reality is that obese people often battle with weight their entire lives."

Professor Komesaroff said that overweight people often suffered depression. He said the study would also examine the nature of the relationships that developed between people living with obesity and their health professionals. The outcomes of the study would be used to develop new public health and clinical strategies to combat depression in obese people.

Researcher Dr Samantha Thomas said the study would initially involve interviewing 100 Victorians who were overweight, but may eventually be expanded nationally. "This research will give them the opportunity to tell their stories about what it is like to be overweight in Australia today," Dr Thomas said. Bellberry Ltd, a not-for-profit human research ethics company, has contributed $40,000 to the research.



A sleepy community of Benedictine monks in south Devon is the latest, and perhaps most unlikely, target in the battle against binge drinking. Alcopops come and go, but Buckfast wine is a perennial favourite among young drinkers keen to test their alcohol limit. Now the tonic wine produced by the Benedictine monks of Buckfast Abbey, Devon, has fallen foul of law makers, who believe it has much to answer for. Scottish health minister Andy Kerr is the latest politician north of the border to express concerns about the effects of the drink commonly known as Buckie - citing its link to binge drinking. "There's something different about that drink," says Mr Kerr, calling it "seriously bad".

Buckfast Tonic Wine originates from Roman Catholic monks - not a group traditionally associated with the drunken masses - and was first produced by them more than 100 years ago, using a recipe brought from France. It is red wine-based, with a high caffeine content. Tellingly, the label on the bottle reads "the name tonic wine does not imply health giving or medicinal properties." It is sweet and viscous. At 5 pounds for a 750ml bottle, it is cheap but powerful - alcohol content is 15% - and considered a rite of passage by many an ambitious young drinker. "It tended to precede a rather spectacular night, because it's horribly potent," recalls Paul, a former student at Manchester.

But it is the drink's prevalence in the so-called Buckfast Triangle - an area east of Glasgow between Airdrie, Coatbridge and Cumbernauld - that has raised concerns. It even spawned its own episode of the Scottish TV comedy Rab C Nesbitt and is known locally by several pet names: Buckie Baracas, a bottle of "what the hell are you looking at?", Wreck the Hoose Juice and Coatbridge Table Wine. More seriously, there have been calls to have it sold in plastic bottles, because of the mess created by broken ones on the street, and, in court, it has been implicated, along with vodka, in one car crash death in Doune, north of Stirling.

David, a Glasgow pub manager, confesses to having enjoyed Buckfast in his formative drinking days, and perceives a strong social stigma linked to its abuse. "There's a huge problem with it in the streets," he says. "Fifteen and sixteen-year-olds drink Buckfast and they'll have no qualms about tooting someone over the head. It all stems from boredom. They'll have two to three bottles and it's like lighting a touch-paper, they go wild." But the drinks industry, and Buckfast's maker, say it is being made a scapegoat for what is a wider social problem of alcohol abuse. Spokesman for distributors J Chandler & Co (Buckfast) Ltd, Jim Wilson, points out that Buckfast trails other drinks, like whisky, in sales. It has only a half a per cent of the total alcohol market and does not feature in the top 100 brands.

Of its £30m annual turnover, 10% is sold in Lanarkshire and much exported to Spain, Australia, and the Caribbean - where its not blamed for a society's ills, says Mr Wilson. At the request of the monks, Buckfast is not advertised in areas perceived to have difficulties, no two-for-one or 20p off offers here. Talks between the distributor and Mr Kerr have been slated for 30 October. "The problem with anything alcoholic is if it's abused," says Mr Wilson. "Why target Buckfast? If your policies aren't working, and you're looking for a scapegoat, have a go."



Just some problems with the "Obesity" war:

1). It tries to impose behavior change on everybody -- when most of those targeted are not obese and hence have no reason to change their behaviour. It is a form of punishing the innocent and the guilty alike. (It is also typical of Leftist thinking: Scorning the individual and capable of dealing with large groups only).

2). The longevity research all leads to the conclusion that it is people of MIDDLING weight who live longest -- not slim people. So the "epidemic" of obesity is in fact largely an "epidemic" of living longer.

3). It is total calorie intake that makes you fat -- not where you get your calories. Policies that attack only the source of the calories (e.g. "junk food") without addressing total calorie intake are hence pissing into the wind. People involuntarily deprived of their preferred calorie intake from one source are highly likely to seek and find their calories elsewhere.

4). So-called junk food is perfectly nutritious. A big Mac meal comprises meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which is a mainstream Western diet. If that is bad then we are all in big trouble.

5). Food warriors demonize salt and fat. But we need a daily salt intake to counter salt-loss through perspiration and the research shows that people on salt-restricted diets die SOONER. And Eskimos eat huge amounts of fat with no apparent ill-effects. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has LOTS of fat. Will we ban roast dinners?

6). The foods restricted are often no more calorific than those permitted -- such as milk and fruit-juice drinks.

7). Tendency to weight is mostly genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behaviour change.


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